NBCUniversal and the International Olympics Committee have set a blockbuster $7.65 billion deal that gives NBCU all domestic media rights to Olympic games through 2032.
Deal also calls for NBCU to pay a $100 million “signing bonus” for what the IOC described as an agreement on “the promotion of Olympism and the Olympic values between 2015 and 2020.”
The length of the deal is unprecedented, even with the close ties between the IOC and NBCU. It caught NBCU’s rivals in the sports TV game by surprise and spurred immediate criticism of the IOC for failing to open the bidding to competitors.
Deal, announced Wednesday by the IOC out of Lausanne, Switzerland, was orchestrated by IOC president Thomas Bach and NBCU chief exec Steve Burke.
“This is one of the most important days in the history of NBCUniversal,” Burke said. “The Olympics are part of the fabric of our company, and we couldn’t be more excited that today’s announcement guarantees that this massively popular and profitable programming will continue to air every two years on the broadcast, cable, digital and mobile platforms of NBCUniversal for the next two decades. No event brings families together like the Olympics, and no-one in media is more accomplished or better equipped to tell the athletes’ stories than NBC Sports. I want to thank the IOC for their faith in us, as well as Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus and NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel, whose leadership was invaluable in bringing this deal to fruition.”
Bach emphasized that the deal would provide for “financial security” for the games over the long haul.
Comcast’s willingness to invest nearly $8 billion in the games is a sign of how encouraged NBCU execs were after the Sochi games in February, which marked the first time the Comcast-era NBCU team had time to plan for multi-platform execution of coverage across various Peacock TV and digital properties. The results from the Sochi games have had a clear positive impact on NBC’s primetime schedule and in launching the next-generation “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, so Comcast execs were likely eager to lock up a long-term deal that gives them the certainty of planning for programming events around the Games.
Indeed, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts emphasized that the deal amounted to a big investment in the NBC broadcast network, which remains the biggest pedestal for NBCU’s linear Olympics coverage.
“The Olympics are the world’s greatest cultural and athletic event, and presenting them to the American audience is an honour and privilege for our entire company,” Roberts said. “Our long-term commitment to and investment in the Olympic Movement are a reflection of our belief in the future of broadcast television, as well as our confidence that our partners at the IOC will continue to deliver great Games and that the Olympics will remain the world’s premier sports event. All of us at Comcast NBCUniversal are extremely proud that we have been entrusted to be the U.S. home for nine more Olympics, and we look forward to using all of our resources to continue our tradition of ground-breaking Olympic coverage.”
In 2011, NBCU agreed to pay $4.38 billion for games from 2014 through 2020, topping by nearly $1 billion a bid from Fox Sports.